Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

29 January 2014

Egypt: Al-Jazeera Journalists and Others Referred to Criminal Court

Egypt's general prosecutor ordered on Wednesday that 20 people, including four foreign journalists who worked for Al-Jazeera English, be referred to criminal court over accusations that they deliberately aired false news to tarnish Egypt's reputation and back a "terrorist organization".

Egyptian authorities arrested a group of Al-Jazeera journalists at the end of December and accused them of operating illegally from a room at the Marriott Hotel in collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was declared a "terrorist organization" by the interim government last month.

The general prosecutor's report accused the detainees of backing the Brotherhood and spreading false information to the international community to convince it that Egypt is witnessing a civil war in an attempt to weaken the country's standing and threaten national peace.

Out of the 20 suspects in the case, eight have already been sent to criminal court while 12 fugitive suspects are yet to be captured and detained.

Al-Jazeera's Cairo office was closed in July following the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in response to mass demonstrations across the country.

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